Archive for the ‘neoliberalism’ category

John Howard: Australia :: Dick Cheney : United States

November 26, 2007

The big difference is that Howard was willing to put himself in public, at least a bit.

Heck, they even look the same – short, old, balding, pudgy white dudes. (Of course, it’s not hard when the pool of elites to draw from is almost exclusively overweight old white dudes, but hey – sometimes they have hair).

On the other hand, Howard seemed to display the same single-mindedness that has made Cheney so effective at trying to end the world achieving peace, prosperity and democracy for rich white hetero men everybody.

Anyway, Australian novelist Richard Flanagan has this great column in the Guardian’s Comment is Free section that does a fantastic job eviscerating Howard and his legacy. I wish he’d added more to the end about Australia’s future, but so it goes.


John Howard famously said the times were his, and for more than a decade it seemed they were. Australia experienced the greatest and most sustained boom in its history. Yet at its end Australia’s indigenous population was in a ruinous state, its extraordinary environment was threatened on numerous fronts, and its people were beginning to ask where the wealth had gone: public schools and public health were in crisis, social welfare was straitened, housing was unaffordable for many, and wages and conditions were being cut under Howard’s industrial reforms.

Look, kids! It’s Neoliberalism! It looks pretty but kills everything!

Please do read the rest; it’s not that long and it helps illustrate one of the reasons Howard got along so well with the Bush Administration: If one didn’t know better, one might think Bush had been responsible for all the things Howard did in the last decade.

It’s also a great primer for what happens when neoliberalism works, which is about the only thing worse than when it fails.

And while Australia is finally free of John Howard, I’m guessing a religious conservative isn’t going to be that much better…